The increasing usage of smartphones across the globe has raised the need for enhancing the quality of your web application. To build an app with mobile compatibility and outstanding user experience, shifting the online presence to progressive web application (PWA) is the top drawer.
Progressive web applications combine the feel and look of an application with the ease of programming any website. This provides users with an overall better experience.
In this article, we’ll attempt to answer the specific question of how one can build a progressive web app. We’ll first move on to discuss some of the most important features of a progressive web app and then we’ll take a look at the main steps of progressive web app development.
- Main Steps of Progressive Web Application Development
- Emphasis on Servers Over HTTPS
- Creating an Application Shell
- Registration of a Service Worker
- Addition of Push Notifications
- Adding a Web App Manifest
- Configuring the Install Prompt
- Analyzing the Performance of the App
- Auditing the App
- The Cost to Build an MVP
Main Steps of Progressive Web Application Development
To understand and create a progressive web app, in the simplest terms, you can imagine it to be a web application which functions or loads just like any other website but it has features like working offline, accessibility of the device hardware, and push notifications which are usually associated with a native application.
Progressive web apps increase the amount of load on important content first and then focus on different functional and presentational areas.
PWAs play a very important role from the first visit of an individual in a browser without requiring any kind of load. This is one of the factors which allow PWAs to have a better audience reach. There are also various steps which need to be taken to build a progressive web app. And those steps are discussed below.
Emphasis on Servers Over HTTPS
It is important to make users feel more secure while they are using your site. And that can be achieved with the extra layer of security which is brought on by SSL. Apart from that, when it comes to progressive web apps, if you wish to use “allow home screen installation” and use service workers then it is important to have HTTPS.
Creating an Application Shell
The application shell is the first thing which all users see. It also forms an important part of the progressive enhancement pattern. Hence, it is important to ensure that a user gets to observe the application shell as soon as possible instead of getting a white screen.
One should also make sure that the index HTML document should exist entirely in the application shell. This should be done with inline CSS. This would allow an application to show content as soon as possible and then load other data. The importance of this point would become clearer if one simply consider the fact that, according to statistics, more than 53% of the users tend to abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load!
Registration of a Service Worker
It is always recommended to register with a service worker as this will allow you to tap into the entire spectrum of benefits which PWA brings with itself. This is something which is incredibly painless to launch. And it is accomplished by checking whether the browser of the user aids service worker or not. If it does then, one can register the service worker file.
Addition of Push Notifications
With the assistance of service workers, users can get push notifications through the web Push API. It is important to know that the entire procedure to send push notifications confides heavily on the backend setup.
One can also access the web Push API by tapping into the self.registration.pushManager which is further located within the service worker file. However, if the application is being developed from scratch then one can also use the Firebase Cloud Messaging by Google Firebase service.
Adding a Web App Manifest
It is important to include a manifest.json in the root directory of the application if an individual or business wishes to make the application installable. This manifest.json should include a name, a splash screen, icons, and a description.
To understand this in an easier manner, you can also think of it as just a description of the application which is rather similar to what one might be required to submit to the AppStore. It is also important for the readers to know that a perfect manifest.json should also include the complete spectrum of icon sizes for all sorts of devices.
Configuring the Install Prompt
Chrome will automatically prompt a user to install an application on the home screen if a PWA is visited with a manifest and a service worker. However, there are a few conditions which must be met before that and those few conditions include that the user must visit the website at least twice and there should also be some five minutes between visits.
The basic idea in this entire procedure is to ensure that the user has enough interest in the application before asking the user to make the application a complete fixture to the device.
Analyzing the Performance of the App
For all efficient PWAs, its performance resides at its heart and soul. It should be ensured that the application should be fast for all users in all network conditions. Offline capabilities and caching certainly help but in the end, it all boils down to the fact that the application should be very speedy even if the browser of the user lacks any sort of service worker technology.
This is, in fact, the correct definition of progressive enhancement as it states that one should provide an excellent experience to all users irrespective of their network conditions and modernity of the device. And to accomplish that, one needs a set of metrics which is known as the RAIL system. This user-centric performance model consists of a set of guidelines which are vital for checking the performance of the application.
The acronym here also stands for Response, Animation, Idle, and Load. All readers should also note, that according to statistics, a good quality progressive web application can work incredibly fast even on a 2G connection!
Auditing the App
Guide the development of your PWA and once it is complete then successfully audit it. And when it comes to pushing progressive web apps, Google is the champion. It supplies all useful tools which are bound to guide the development of your PWA. One can find the Chrome DevTools which are available under the ‘Audits’ tab.
It is also supplied as Chrome Extensions and was earlier known as Lighthouse. What it basically does is that it runs the application under a number of conditions. It also records the responses simultaneously and all of this is done by following the PWA guidelines. After that, it gives the application a score out of 100 and it also scores the application on the basis of the web best practices.
These are all the major steps which are followed for any progressive web application development. To make your own progressive web app, in the next section, the focus will shift to understanding the cost which is required to build an MVP.
The Cost to Build an MVP
Before building anything major it is always a good idea to start with a Minimum Viable Prototype or an MVP. This can also be looked on as a type of initial version of the desired product which is always wiser and cheaper to build. There are many advantages to building an MVP. A few are mentioned below:
- Consumption of Less Money
- Reducing the Total Business Risks
- Gaining Easy Entrance to the Market
- Getting Genuine Feedbacks for Targeted Users
- Less Investment Required
These are all the major benefits which are associated with the task of building a minimum viable prototype. Apart from these benefits, there are also certain costs factors which are associated with building an MVP.
The cost of an MVP can differ depending upon a number of different factors. If the mobile app has a higher scope of work then you can be charged higher. The cost can also differ depending upon the kind of development company you hire. It is important to remember that design and functionality are at the heart of the topic when deciding the cost of developing an MVP.
Hence, one should not compromise on those points at all. The cost to build a PWA can also range anything from $4,000 to $30,000. Therefore, it is recommended that if you are planning on building a progressive web application then always keep it in mind that you will need to make some investment. However, there are pretty good chances of this investment to result in some great profits for you and your company.
Before ending the article, let’s sum up everything major which we have covered so far.
- A progressive web application is a technology which combines the best experiences of native applications with the best experiences of a website.
- The biggest benefit of switching to a PWA is the fact that it enhances the quality of the overall user experience.
- There is a number of steps which one needs to follow for building a progressive web application. And some of those steps are an emphasis on servers over HTTPS, creating an application shell, registration of a service worker, the addition of push notifications.
- It is also recommended that before making such a huge switch, one should also start with a minimum viable prototype or the MVP. It is quite similar to an initial version of the desired product.
If you are looking to raise the customers for your business, you should switch to PWAs for your online presence. Building a PWA needs expert developers who can provide you cost-effective solutions within your budget. We, at Newizzie, welcomes you with your requirements. Contact us!